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He Was No Ghost

January 05, 1997

The new movie "Ghosts of Mississippi" has significance beyond the content of Sean Mitchell's article ("Waking the Ghosts," Dec. 15). It is one of only several major media acknowledgments of what assistant district attorney Bobby DeLaughter called the "crucial" role of my dear friend Delmar Dennis and his testimony (discovered by DeLaughter in my 1975 book "Klandestine") concerning Byron De La Beckwith's admission of murdering Medgar Evers.

This new evidence made possible Beckwith's indictment, secured his 1994 conviction and justice after almost three decades. That much, to some extent, is shown in the film. And Myrlie Evers told Delmar at the trial she knew how important his role had been.

The Times' story on Beckwith's conviction in 1994 did not even mention Delmar's name. When he passed away on June 1, 1996, The Times did not publish the wire-service report. Rather incredible, since he, at tremendous personal risk and sacrifice, not only brought Beckwith to justice but was also the most important witness in the 1967 federal prosecution of the klan leaders and members who murdered Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964.

Perhaps the fact that, like myself, Delmar was a member of the anti-totalitarian and anti-racist John Birch Society was a bit too uncomfortable for some journalists to handle.

WILLIAM H. McILHANY

Beverly Hills

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